In all, a charming introduction to the familiar animals of the farm for youngsters.

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PEEK-A-BOO FARM

A “guess who” game for very young children introduces seven animals they might meet on a farm.

Peekaboo is a perennially favorite game. It teaches object permanence and basic trust that the world is a safe, predictable place. Peekaboo books abound, perhaps because at just the right developmental stage, the simple game always reassures and empowers. Babies and toddlers will not tire of the game, even when they know the answers. In this slight version of the game, a rhyming verse gives clues to the identity of the animal hiding its eyes on the opposite page. A large flap opens to answer “Guess who?” with “Peek-a-boo!” and the animal's face and name. Wan has made the pig, sheep, cow, rabbit, cat, and dog almost exactly the same size, with the colors and shapes of their ears doing most of the work to differentiate between the species. Exactly how a cow or pig covers its eyes with its hooves may mystify adults, but it won't bother children. The flaps are sturdy but may not hold up to the repeated handling the book is bound to encourage.

In all, a charming introduction to the familiar animals of the farm for youngsters. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-75045-5

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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